Washington DC (USA) Dec 23: Just in time for Christmas, the anonymous, globally infamous street artist known as Banksy is making a political statement with a Nativity scene in Bethlehem, the town revered as Jesus' birthplace.
Calling it "Scar of Bethlehem," the artwork, as The Associated Press reported, depicts the birth of Jesus under Israel's West Bank separation barrier with a bullet hole shaped like a star. The piece is displayed at the Walled Off Hotel, a Palestinian guesthouse in Bethlehem that was designed by Banksy and is filled with his artwork.
"Banksy is trying to be a voice for those that cannot speak," Wisam Salsaa, the hotel manager, told the BBC.
"It is a great way to bring up the story of Bethlehem, the Christmas story, in a different way - to make people think more," he added.
The British street artist, who carefully protects his anonymity, is believed to have made several past appearances in the Palestinian territories.
In one work, a mural of a girl pulled upward by balloons was painted on the separation barrier facing the hotel.
Banksy also is believed to have sneaked into the Gaza Strip to draw four murals there. One was painted on a remaining piece of a building destroyed during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group and featured the Greek goddess Niobe cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house.
Salsaa told The AP that Banksy recently sent the new piece to the hotel, which has become a popular tourist draw since opening in 2017.
"We see there is a scar," he said. "A hole on the wall marks the wall and the life in Bethlehem."
The hotel overlooks the separation barrier.
Israel built the barrier in the early 2000s in what it said was a move to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers in the West Bank from reaching Israel. The Palestinians consider the barrier illegal and call it an Israeli land grab, noting that it has engulfed large chunks of the West Bank onto the Israeli "side."
"Banksy is trying to remind the world that people of Bethlehem, where Christmas was started, are not celebrating Christmas like the rest of the world," Salsaa said.
Source: Fox News